Pedestrian Death Rates are at a 30 Year High
In 2018 there were 6,227 pedestrian deaths across the United States, with the highest amount of deaths occurring in large cities. This is the highest that it has been in 30 years. While roads without crosswalks are partially to blame, the real problem is a combination of two things: distracted driving and larger vehicles on the road. In Macon, Georgia, one in 8,000 of the 111,000 residents died in 2018 in pedestrian accidents. There were five states including Georgia, Texas, Arizona, Florida, and California that made up almost half of all pedestrian fatalities in 2018. Some of the states also saw an increase in population, which could have contributed to the large amount of fatalities, but the larger cause is distracted driving.
State highways are also a problem because they were designed for fast moving cars, not people. When riding mass transit like a bus, people have to walk on the side of the road and cross streets, increasing the likelihood they are hit by a vehicle. It could also be the amount of crosswalks and the distance between them. If crosswalks are not present, people are forced to cross the street without one, and if crosswalks are too far away, people might choose to risk their lives and cross a busy street.
While the lack of sidewalks and crosswalks are a problem, the larger problem is the widespread adoption of SUVs and drivers driving while distracted. SUVs are much larger and much heavier than a typical sedan, so being hit is far more dangerous and deadly. Cell phones are also a large problem. Drivers use cell phones far more often now, and do not watch the road while using them. People will also distract themselves with things other than cell phones. They can apply makeup, eat in the car, pet a dog, or even yell at their kids, which all take a driver’s attention away from the road, leading to a deadly collision.
Distracted driving is dangerous, and could lead to pedestrians becoming seriously injured or even killed. Legislation could help, and is currently helping some states reduce pedestrian deaths. Five out of the six New England states currently have a law allowing police officers to give tickets for the type of distracted driving explained above. These states have seen a 36 percent drop in fatalities last year, and Rhode Island has seen a 60 percent reduction from 10 pedestrian fatalities in 2017 to four fatalities in 2018. Florida is considering this type of legislation, which could help decrease pedestrian deaths by changing bad driving behavior.
If you have been struck by a vehicle as a pedestrian or have been in a car accident, you may be entitled to compensation. Call us at 412-471-3980 or fill out our contact form to learn your options.
Sea Stachura, “Why Pedestrian Deaths Are At A 30-Year High” NPR (March 28, 2019). [Link]